DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2001 by T'Kuht. I own no one or nothing. The idea is mine. It is a continuance to "Lover's Return" and another sequel to "I Started a Joke".



Inspiration Point

T'Kuht



Spock woke. The place beside him in the bed was empty and for a moment he was confused. Christine was always a later sleeper than he. But, he sensed no concern from her through their now full marital bond. Rolling over, he lay silent for a moment to gather his thoughts.

"Penny for them," she said softly from the chair beside the bed. He met his wife's eyes in the still dawning light. They were content, happy, at peace with each other.

He lay that way for a moment, "You are awake early today."

"I had to get up to go to the bathroom oh at four or so and when I came back, the sight of you was so dear to me that I couldn't help but watch," she answered, the sincerity of her emotions showing in her voice. At his slightly astonished look, she finished with a laugh, "You watch me all the time ... don't you?"

Spock weighed his answer. If he denied it, it would be a lie, but to affirm it was akin to admit to an emotional outburst. He chose the latter, "I watch you, on occasion, while you sleep. I have found that humans require more sleep in a continuous cycle than Vulcans. Would it be better to lie in bed awake with you asleep and possibly disturb you, or get out of bed and allow you to remain so?"

He barely got away with that statement of logical due process. She accepted it though as his special way of saying he loved her enough to watch her breathe. "Well, I have already showered and am waiting to know what you want for breakfast while you take yours,"she stated.

"You have showered?" he replied with a tinge of disappointment. He preferred to bathe with her.

"Spock, there are times when women prefer to bathe alone. It's not that I don't love you anymore or that I don't want to shower with you, but it's a privacy thing. I'm sure there are things you prefer to do without me," she countered nodding toward the meditation pallet that he had tucked in the corner.

"Noted. Perhaps we should agree to the times that we share our bath. I do not have a preference for breakfast, however, do not prepare the package that McCoy sent as a house warming present."

"Tea, oats, toast, no grits, gotcha... Will there be anything else, sir, or should I place this order with the short order cook?" The blue eyes teased as the sun was beginning to peek over the window to their bedroom.

Spock swiftly got to his feet, as fluid and agile as ever, pulled her gently into his arms, "Only this..."

His kiss was accentuated by the swirl of calming emotions that he sent with it. Her sigh of delight greeted his ears when they parted. She smiled, "I'll be in the kitchen..."

He allowed her to go, waited for the pounding in his heart to settle down, and headed for the shower. It would be a short one today.

* * *

Spock appeared ten minutes later toweled but still wet and wrapped in the large white meditation robe. Christine had dressed and placed the breakfast selections on the table. He handed her the oversized hand towel. With a laugh, she started to rub his hair dry. She enjoyed doing it for some reason that he never could get her to explain and he found it invigorating to his scalp and helped clear his head for the day. The fact that it also was extremely stimulating in other areas did not hurt. His lips missed their target as she turned away from him slyly, "Ah, if we don't eat, we won't get to work on time or get anything done today, and you promised we'd go out for dinner..."

Spock nodded. They had been married over a month. By Vulcan law, they had been married only two weeks, but that ceremony had only deepened the bond and made it official on his home planet. He no longer needed to find her meld points to have mental contact with her. He simply had to brush his fingers across hers or come close enough to have her hair brush his cheek. She had found it a little disconcerting at first but had controlled her responses well. "Yes, dinner. I have heard of a little place on Block Island. Have you been there?"

"To Block Island, once a long time ago. It's a quaint little place. Very rustic and peaceful," she remembered. The mere mention of that little haven of an island was pleasant.

"I purchased your ring there. Perhaps we could stop by and look at the other things that they offer," Spock suggested as he scooped out his usual oatmeal, no sugar, no cream. He preferred his drizzled with honey or jam.

"Sounds fine. You realize that the ferry will probably close down though after 2000. They don't run the full hours in the winter," she said.

"Perhaps since it is a holiday, there will be a special ferry," he replied.

Christine sighed. He was determined to go to Block Island for dinner. It almost guaranteed she'd get lobster for dinner, though. The mention of it made her groan in anticipation. He was concerned, "What?"

"I was just thinking what I'm going to order for supper. Lobster with a nice piece of steak on the side, baked potato ... mmm."

Although Spock's mother had become vegetarian when she married Sarek, mostly out of a lack of meat on Vulcan, Spock had not asked Christine to do so. She had been a meat eater her entire 55 years and he saw no reason to demand that she change when she did enjoy it. Christine tried to eat meat only while she was at work or in a restaurant and kept very little at home to prepare when she was alone or had a craving. Spock noted that menu in his head and wondered what restaurant he would take her to that would serve that.

"What do you expect your father will have you doing at the embassy?"

"There is a possibility of a diplomatic trip within the next three months, but it is only tentative. He will probably be reviewing those files."

"Hmm, where to?"

"Sigma Iotia II," Spock replied with a bit of a sigh.

Christine laughed, "So, the bosses are serious about applying for status in the Federation?"

"They are no longer 'bosses' but governors. Yes, they are pursuing this matter most strenuously. And you, what are your plans?"

"Ken and I are going to work on the newest implant for our new guinea pig. With Vita doing so well and the subsequent publicity, we had at least seven people call to inquire about the treatment," she replied. She had told him that same information when he came home the night before, but for some reason there was anxiety in her tone.

"You are worried?" he asked finishing with the toast and moving to the tea.

"Well, yes. It worked for Vita, it may not work on any of these people. I have always known that medicine has never been a one size fits all profession, but I feel like I have all these people relying on my ability to make them better. If I can do it, great, but if I can't..." She trailed off and stared into her oats.

Spock's hand met hers across the table. His eyes were convincing. "You do your best. You cannot ask for better than that. No one could. The mere fact that you are trying to find an answer to their problems is better than sitting and saying it isn't worth the effort."

She gripped his hand for second before letting it go, "Spock, you are a source of constant encouragement to me. You know all these years, you have always been there for me even if it was just as a cheerleader. Thank you."

Spock took exception at being referred to as a cheerleader, but the gong of the mantel clock interrupted them. "You'd better get dressed, we're going to be late again..."

Since their marriage, they had been late getting to work nearly every day. It wasn't so bad at Starfield where Christine owned the place, but Spock's father was hell on wheels with him. He hurried and dressed while Christine tidied up.

* * *

The day drudged on. Spock had made extremely special plans for the evening. It was St. Valentine's day on Earth, and he wanted to make sure it was one his wife would never forget, as well as himself. As he waited for Christine to pick him up at the embassy, he reviewed the plans. He had sent flowers to her work, but she was used to that by this time. He had made the reservations and arrangements for the evening on Block Island as well as informed Jenna at Starfield and his father that they should not expect them tomorrow at work.

"So, are you going to daydream all day or are you going to take your wife to dinner?" she asked from the door. Spock did not turn in his chair to face her. "I thought Jenna would have told you. I have to work late this evening." He could not deceive her if he saw her face.

It was impossible. She didn't buy it anyway. "Nope, won't work, Mr. Smartypants. Your mother and father already wished me a Happy Valentines Day and wanted to know where we were going to eat."

Spock shook his head. "Try to surprise a person and it is ruined every time. Shall we leave then?" With a happy little laugh, they closed the office up and headed out to Block Island.

* * *

The ferry was nearly deserted as they sailed across the Block Island sound. Spock had been to Block Island several times since he had purchased her ring. He had found the place a fascinating study in a small idyllic community amongst modern life. It was almost like going back in time three hundred years every time he set foot off the ferry. It was still winter, however, so the trip was not as invigorating as it would have been if it had been summer or early fall. They stood at the rail, watched the sun as it began to set in the west and took in the crisp cold air. The sky had been a perfect shade of winter blue and only a few trailing fair weather clouds marred the skyline. Christine hugged herself closer and snuggled against Spock as the wind and the waves tossled her hair. "It is so fresh and clear here. You know you don't smell it when you are in the city, but coming to a more rural area like this, it is so much more fragrant. Is that the word?"

"There are fewer polluting smells in rural areas," Spock restated.

"Mmm-hmmm, well whatever, it still smells nice out here." Closing her eyes, she allowed the salt and the foam and the sound of the waves that crashed against the ferry lull her into an easy relaxed state. Spock held her firmly by his side. There would be no chance that she would fall over board unless she actually meant to, but he did not wish to take chances. "I thought perhaps while it was still daylight, we could drive around for a while. The reservations are not until 2000 anyway."

"That sounds nice. What time does the last ferry leave?" she asked absently.

"There is one after that," Spock managed to lie. If she knew that the last ferry was the one that departed at 1900, he would not get her onto the island. She had already told him she had a busy day planned at work the next day. He would remedy that, though. The signal that it would only be five minutes before they docked sounded and the two headed for the skimmer.

* * *

"I have found there are some interesting homes here," Spock was saying as they maneuvered down a shoreline road. Christine kept her eyes entranced on the architecture. They were a perfect example of Victorian and Edwardian architectural stick buildings. One particularly large home loomed at them as they began to pass. "Oh, isn't that a pretty place," Christine said in awe. It was indeed different than she had ever seen. Situated so that it actually was able to face the road and the sound at the same time, it sported a large tower and a verandah. Spock deftly turned the skimmer into the long drive.

Christine looked at him. "What are you doing?"

"Turning around. However, this is an interesting home, would you care to take a tour? I believe it is open to the public," he suggested strongly.

She protested, "Spock, isn't it time to go eat?"

"You really need to see this home first. I have already been here. Believe me, you will enjoy the tour," he assured and shut the skimmer down. Christine was immediately suspicious. Her husband was hiding something. She could tell because his shields were up full force.

"Spock, what is this?"

"Humor me," he tried. Christine allowed him to lead her up the walk to the picket fence. The house was lit up and it glowed almost like a Christmas tree in the waning light. He opened the gate for her. "I don't see any signs that says we can do this," she objected.

Finally, he placed his finger to her lips. "Not another word."

With indignation, she was determined to find out what was going on, but he kept walking. Once on the porch, he turned. "Come."

It was not an order, it was a request, and she would not deny his requests. She followed and he opened the doors to usher her in. There was no furniture. It was an empty house. She turned to him as he shut the door, "What is this about?"

"This..." he said and indicated the home, "is yours. I signed the deed to it last week. Welcome home, dear."

"What?" she managed and stood staring in wonderment at the house. The main room that they had entered was a large parlor with a half round, window seating area that became the tower that was so outstanding from the outside. A large staircase led up to the second floor and beyond a set of dividing columns was another large room, probably a dining room. Hardwood floors gleamed in the soft glow of the old fashioned overhead lights and sconces. Fires were laid in both fireplaces that faced each other from opposite ends of the house. They crackled merrily. Christine just shook her head. "Spock..."

"I believe that this is the more traditional response," he replied and opened the doors again. Sweeping her off her feet, he exited the room then re-entered. "If my research is correct, this is the proper way to bring a bride home for the first time, is it not?"

"Yes, technically, but Spock ... this house..." she began.

"Will be perfect for what we wish to do. You were saying that our apartment would not do in entertaining our friends. With the addition of our study, we had no guest room. Here there are five bedrooms and two baths. They should be ample for our needs," he was explaining as he started walking up the wide staircase to the second floor. Christine didn't try to wiggle in his grasp, he might slip and they'd end up tumbling down the stairs. He placed her on her feet and showed her the different rooms, opening each to allow her to view them. They were all different, all wooden floors and trim, and all delightfully Victorian. Finally, there was only one room left.

"What is this room?" she asked.

"This, will be our room," he answered and swung the door open to reveal the only room that had furniture. A fire blazed in the fireplace, a large brass bed sat in the middle of the room and a table set with food and candles occupied the rounded area of the tower. "Spock..." she whispered.

"We did not have a proper honeymoon, or wedding night," he sighed in her ear. While they had not allowed that to stop them when it came to sexual relations, it had been another odd point in their lives that they would have to spend their first night of marital bliss in the back of a bus with heating blankets and a flashlight. Spock had not forgotten anything. The bed was made and dressed with quilts that he had gotten from his mother.

"Shall we have dinner before it gets cold?" he asked and led her to the table. He had told the restaurant that he would have his wife there at precisely 1955. The food had to arrive before then but not before 1945 so it would not be cold. He was pleased to see steam still pouring off the lobster as he removed the tray lid.

She was surprised. "Lobster..and steak. Spock, you are the most ... annoying man."

"I do not understand? You are not pleased?" he asked confused.

"I love it, all of it, but why didn't you tell me? When did you find this place?"

"Anne and I came here to choose your ring. I was interested in the island. While you were busy during the day, I drove here to get a better look. I liked what I saw. This property was available and something about it called to me," he explained and showed her the words that were etched into the mantel.

She smiled. "You did that.."

"I did not. It was part of the original woodwork, or so I was told," he offered. It was the truth, it had not been his idea. Apparently, someone else thought that it had been only appropriate to call the home they were in Inspiration Point. Christine's face told him she did not believe him. He opened his mind to hers, rested his hand on her cheek, "I speak the truth."

"All right I'll believe you. It's just too good to be true. This is so... Spock, you are a romantic," she decided.

Spock nodded once, "If you insist."

"I don't insist. I know. You are ... the ... most..." she said and began poking him in the chest hard enough to make him step backwards. When he was against the bed, she poked one more time, "romantic."

Becoming off balance Spock sat on the bed with a thud. His face was one of utter innocence. Christine remained standing in such a manner that he would have to swing either one leg or the other over her head to get out or back over the bed to escape on the other side. He surmised by the look in her eye that if he attempted to do that, she would be waiting at the other end of the bed. He gave up, reached for her hands, and pulled him toward her gently. She remained upright but bent at the waist to meet him nose to nose. Almost whisper lightly, she caressed his nose with hers while she kept his eyes locked with hers. He knew what she wanted, "Do you not wish to eat your lobster?"

"No, it can wait. We'll take it home in a doggy bag," she whispered huskily.

He reminded her, "We are home."

The corners of her lips lifted slightly, baring the pearly teeth in the fireplace glow. Without hesitation, she engulfed him in a kiss that threatened to push him down fully on the bed. In his mind he could hear her sigh ... home. The emotions that went with that one word were of warmth and security, love and togetherness. Spock's hands flitted up her waist to begin the process of removing her clothes. She had worn an elegant outfit that hid nothing. It was only the unfastening of one button that allowed him access to everything. Christine straightened while he deftly tugged and pulled to leave her in just the underwear that she wore. She preferred satin to lace. He didn't care. He sat back with hands propped behind him to regard her. "What?" she asked.

"Simply watching my wife. I am a closet voyeur," he revealed.

"You're not a very good one. You've been watching the ladies a long time, Mr. Spock," she teased. She only referred to him in such a formal way when she was either sarcastic or aroused. Now, she was both. He didn't get a chance to reply. She had him straddled on the bed, his back against the mattress, her still partially clothed body atop him. She could feel his pleasure even without seeing it in his eyes. "Hmm, that's what I like, strong, commanding men."

As she pressed against him, the slight pulse in his groin let her know she was definitely having an effect on him. But, she didn't want him this way. The brass bed gave her an idea. "Take your jacket off," she commanded. She moved off him, and he did as she asked and then began with the shirt, "No, leave the shirt on."

Removing the tights she had on, she motioned toward the pillow. "Lay with your head on the pillow."

Spock found this domineering tone she had quite alluring. She was not a normally demanding woman. In fact, he had been the one in control during their lovemaking up until now. That had been more than satisfactory for both of them, but this was promising to be much more than they had ever known. He was already so aroused he was not thinking as clearly as he had wished. Again she straddled him, pressed against his chest and kissed him with searching open mouthed kisses. His moan of delight at the touch of her tongue on his lips sent a pang of urgency through her. "Give me your wrists." Spock did as she asked, found them attached to the brass bed with the tights. She didn't want to hurt him, just make it so that his arms were unable to do anything. "What are you doing?" he asked naively. Apparently no one had ever tied him up before.

"Testing a theory that your mother told me I might try. But, she said I had to have a brass bed."

Scooting down so that she could sit up across his lap, she tugged the shirttail hem out of his pants. One by one she undid the buttons, allowed each one to create a tension between them. Finally she reached the one at the neck and with a growl of pleasure, she pushed the lapels back. His chest, bare and gleaming in the fire glow was taut from the mere position of his arms. She had discovered that he liked to have his nipples teased, enjoyed the feel of cold metal across them as well as her tongue. For this purpose, she had taken up wearing a ring on both hands. It gave her the needed metallic sensation he liked. As she made the circular motions along one nipple, she was intent on stimulating the other with her tongue. He was almost done in, and he had no way of making her stop. "Christine..." he said hoarsely.

"Yes?" she purred.

"I need you..."

"And I you, but not just yet."

"No, I need you to let my arms down," he stated flatly.

She shook her head and the tongue sent shivers through his body. The reaction was a jerked arm in the tights. It shook the bed. Christine stopped her ministrations. "Oh, my caged tiger."

"Please, release my hands," he asked again. He knew she would not. He also knew he would not be responsible for the damage done to the bed if she didn't. The dark hairs that curled on his chest and abdomen were a favorite of hers. She liked to stroke the hair opposite its natural pattern of growth to stimulate the still hard muscles. It always produced a rippling effect, as if she had sent small electric shocks through him instead of just massaging with her hands. Her nails, always long enough to create more havoc but never dug in deep enough to draw blood or seriously hurt him, raked across the flesh sending even more waves of almost unequaled desire through him. She was inching her way down his torso, making certain that he knew precisely where she was by tensing and releasing leg muscles. Finally unable to stand it longer, he raised his knees to deny her any more ground. "We are at an impasse," he managed.

She shook her head, "No, we're not." Coming to a hands and knees position, she moved off him and crawled up on the end of the bed to come up between his legs. His look of surprise mingled with anticipation and the need to get his hands out of the tights. Her hands were quite experienced in getting people's clothes off while they were in prone or unconscious positions. She had no problem removing the trousers that he wore and was faced with his shorts that were being tested to their stretching limits.

Spock swallowed, "Please remove them. They are becoming tight."

"Oh, they are tight ... Well. We can do something to relieve that." With deft hands she slid them through the leg bands and between the material and his bare flesh. He was indeed getting too big for his drawers. She chuckled, began massaging, found the look on his face so utterly delightful in his pleasure that she almost laughed. But, she was not laughing at him. She would never laugh at him. If she laughed it would be because it was such an erotic thing to caress him while he was still clothed, and he unable to control what she was doing. She decided that he had been tortured enough with that, and she herself was getting extremely aroused. Tugging lightly on them to slip them past his knees and off his ankles, she dropped them on the floor. Christine still wore her panties and bra. Spock was now nude except the shirt that was still on only because his hands were tied and the socks. She shook her head. "Didn't your mama ever tell you it wasn't polite to wear socks to bed when you had company over?"

"No," he whispered.

She removed the socks, one at a time. With a devilish grin, she began kneading and massaging his feet. The sound that came out of his throat was almost animal in its intensity. She could see that he found it as erotic as she had. "Please..." he begged. "Untie my hands..."

"No, not yet. You are so impatient."

Her hands slid up the hairs of his legs, caused them to stand nearly on end from the static electricity. He groaned. She found him, hard, hot, and almost bursting from the sensations. He had been quite astonished when she had orally stimulated him the first time, but she could tell that he did enjoy it, thoroughly. Now, she flicked her tongue across his penis, allowing it to tease and barely touch it. The bed shook more violently. His voice, now almost a whimper, "Please..."

"My hands..." she whispered for him but honed in on her prey instead. She would have him so desperately dizzy with passion he wouldn't even realize it when she did release him. Massaging the testicles with a light, playful touch, she put him full in her mouth, liked to graze her teeth across the hot flesh as she came back up.

"My hands..." he whispered. "Christine, you must release my hands," he demanded as he began to tremble.

"My, you don't like to have your hands tied, do you? You like to be in control..." she teased between engulfing him.

"It is not that. My strength is such that...." His rumbling moan of desire interrupted his narration "...I cannot guarantee if you continue."

"Oh, I'm going to continue, my husband. Don't worry about that. I will continue. You want to touch me, caress me just as I do you. Now you know how I feel when you drive me insane, and I have nothing to do with my hands." Sensing through the bond that he was so near climax that she would have to slow down or stop completely for a few moments, she backed away from him. She smiled as she licked her lips, "Delicious."

Spock's eyes met hers. "Wife.."

"Husband." Slowly, she unhooked the bra, let it slide down her arms onto the floor. He watched her, helpless to the desire that he wanted her breasts in his hands, her nipples. With another swift motion, the underwear was off and unencumbered, she climbed atop him again. This time she crawled over his body, careful not to hurt his swollen member as she made her way to his face. Nuzzling his nose, she knew what he wanted, at least for a moment. She was well endowed enough that she had a little leeway when it came to her breasts. Allowing him the pleasure of engulfing his face in her bosom, he nipped her slightly. It made her shiver and shake with delight. She laughed, "Oh, you are a devil."

"I have been called that," he replied as he kissed the part he just nipped. His mouth hungered for her as a baby, and she dipped down to allow him to taste her. Without his hands to caress the rest of her, she had to rely on her own imagination to arouse her further. It wasn't hard to accomplish. But, she was a needy woman and wanted him. Rising slightly, she began to sit back on her haunches already fully aware of his location. With little maneuvering, she slid easily onto him and began slowly rocking back and forth. Her breath was coming in shorter bursts, Spock was practically breathless. She had him to such a point that he almost could not focus on his locale or any other concrete object. All he knew was that the sheer magnitude of the pleasure she was giving him was about to cause him to pass out. The bed creaked joyfully beneath them. Christine missed Spock's hands as they would normally caress her nipples, leaned forward to brush them against the hairs on his chest. That did it. Spock could no longer handle the sensations of pure pleasure and having his hands incapacitated. With a roar of ecstacy, he jerked his left hand free and at the same time pulled the rod from the headboard. His hand found her, pulled her atop him, and with a motion that was easier done than thought of, he was no longer under her, but over her sweat drenched form. He did not need the right hand at that moment. His face curled in a delighted expression, "I told you to let me free."

Christine was on such a cloud of desire, that she didn't care. His rhythm was sending her higher and higher as he would dip into her and then pull almost all the way out to tickle her clitoris. He reached the sound he wanted. When he had her to the breaking point, she emitted such a high pitched whine that he was certain that only Vulcans and dogs could hear it. He allowed his mouth to roam her neck and jawline. She was almost ready to beg him for mercy. When the words came, he only replied, "No, not yet, beloved. You were content to let me suffer..."

When he was in control he could remain focused enough to dictate when he ejaculated or not. In the height of passion, he could not do so. He wanted to be in control of his faculties as well as hers. He had been sent to the brink and been saved, but she ... she would not get off so easily. Her eyes flew open and searched his, almost frantic in her ecstacy.

"Spock..." she murmured, repeated it like a mantra sometimes punctuated by deities. Spock found his control slipping. He too had reached a point of no comprehension and welcomed it in his ardor. With final crescendos of delight, his moans accompanied her near sobs of torment until the end. For a time, their breathing was the only sound in the room beside the fire. The bed had stopped its motion and the two lay drenched in lovemaking atop it. Spock channeled his weight so that he would not crush her, but her arms held tight to him as if he were a mast in a storm and she was lashed to it for dear life. Her legs curled up over his back and she remained taut and tense beneath him, unwilling to let him free from her womanhood. He came to himself again, breathed in the scent of her body, the cologne she wore, the shampoo in her hair, the salt, the tang of her pheromones that were present. With light quick kisses, he took the tears that spilled down from her eyes into his own body. "Christine."

Her whole body trembled. She wept openly, and he was concerned, "Christine."

She almost couldn't speak. He began to clamber off her, but she held him fast. "Don't leave me. Never leave me..." she managed.

She was not in pain. He could tell that from their mental link. The feeling of euphoria that she had was still washing over him and he realized that it had been so strong and more than she had ever experienced that she had nearly lost herself to it. Her eyes met his, they were awed, happy. She repeated, "Don't leave me."

"I don't plan to. That is unless you mean do not remove myself from you. I must eventually, but we can lie here together like this for a time."

She nodded, rested her head against the bed pillow, and took in air. His one free hand brushed the hair from where it had stuck to her face. Her pleasure had been so great that it had been almost painful for her. But she did not want him to go. "May I free my other hand now?"

"Oh, yes, let me..." she said and reached up awkwardly to untie it. It was nearly impossible in that position. "Spock, you'll have to let me up."

Spock changed position and was about to let her up when the entire side of the bed collapsed, sending her sliding off the quilt and in a pile at the bottom, Spock could find no hand hold and ended up in a heap himself. He knew he had hit her on the way down. "Ow!" she groaned and scrambled away from the bed in case it tipped over on top of him. Holding onto her right eye with one hand and reaching up to undo his hand, she started laughing, "Ow..."

Spock removed her hand, found a small cut under her eye. "Does it hurt?"

"Yes, I'll probably have a black eye. You know, first we get married and have to consummate the wedding in an embassy bus and now the first night we make love in the house that you bought for me, we end up breaking the bed and giving me a black eye. I think we're jinxed," she grumbled happily.

"As long as the results are two satisfied people, I think it is a small price to pay for any small mishaps," he decided as he made absolutely certain her eye was fine. It would be black and blue, but not damaged otherwise.

Christine groaned, "Great. I have a husband who thinks it's just fine for his wife to suffer personal injury as long as he can have satisfying sex."

"No, I meant that our happiness as a couple does not need to be marred by the odd incident along the way," he corrected and kissed her softly. The wooden floor was cold and uncomfortable.

"Spock, did you happen to have the plumbing hooked up in this house?"

"Yes, the bathroom is..."

"Down the hall, to the left. I remember."

While Christine went to the bathroom, Spock attempted to find out what happened to the bed. Apparently the rocking motion had knocked the wheels out from under it, but he did not think it wise to put them back the way they were in case it occurred frequently. Wondering what they would do for a bed with this one completely tilted, he decided to remove the mattress and placed it on the floor closer to the fireplace. It would do well there. Christine returned dressed in a robe that she found behind the door. Spock knew her well. He knew that she always had to go to the bathroom after they made love and that she preferred not to traipse around the open with no clothes on. It was also extremely cold out in the hallway.

"This house is an iceberg ... does it have central heat?" she asked wondering how they would live here with his personal preferences for warm rooms.

"It does, but I did not have it turned on. I wished to wait till you saw the house." Spock suddenly remembered the fact that when he swept her off her feet and ushered her upstairs, he had neglected to close the front doors. "I believe the front doors are open."

Christine snorted, "Spock, we could have had burglars steal everything we own with the door wide open like that."

"There is no furniture or belongings, what would they steal?" he replied to which he got a prompt smack on the upper arm. It sounded worse than it felt.

"Well, you go check the house for burglars, and I'm going to eat ... I realize it's stone cold, but I'm starved," she said and went to the still waiting supper table.

Spock started out the door. "You're not going in that, are you?"

"I am not in anything," he noted.

"Precisely. I am used to my husband in the nude, but I don't think the neighbors are up to seeing a Vulcan dignitary par excellence cavorting naked in the front parlor. Besides, you'll get cold. Use one of the quilts to wrap around you or something," she suggested and he did so. By the time he returned, he was glad that she had suggested it. The house was quite chilly.

Christine had his plate served and waiting for him when he returned. Her eye was becoming darker by the second. Spock touched it lightly. "It will be difficult to explain."

"Hmm ... no, it won't," she said between mouth fulls of food. She met his eyes. "I'll just tell them you hit me."

"I would never strike you in anger or for any other reason," he assured, visibly shocked that she even considered it a suggestion.

"I am kidding. Really, I'll just tell them that you were showing me this lovely house and I tripped down the stairs or something and hit a ledge. Ken will believe me. He knows how clumsy I am. You haven't exactly married a ballerina you know," she bemoaned about her lack of co-ordination.

"It is of no importance. However, I do not wish to keep taking you to the emergency room due to accidents."

"That one night was a fluke," she reminded and offered him part of the rice he had ordered.

The rest of the meal was eaten quickly, and although it was cold, it was delicious. Christine peered around the room in the odd shadows of the candles and the fire. "So, tell me about my new home."

Spock recalled what the realtor had told him. "This house was built in 1895 for a sea captain and his bride. He had the tower built as an observation post to view the ships coming into the harbor. There are two rooms as well as storage in the attic. I had thought we would have our study up there. Above us is the balcony, there is a room that is a fair size. Outfitted with shelves and one of the partner desks that you wished to purchase, it should also have room for a chair or two. You wanted a room that had an outside access to allow fresh air but also a 'cozy' atmosphere."

"Do you remember everything I ramble on about when I am lying in your arms?" she asked with a smile that tweaked her lips upward.

"I can recall every word you have ever said to me," he replied softly. That admission made her blush. She was humbled by that statement.

"You remember..."

"All of them. I remember a woman coming to my quarters bearing soup. She placed it on the desk, attempted to ease my suffering. And later when you again appeared... Did you even realize what I was asking of you then?" he inquired.

"Asking of me? You mean the dream? I assumed that you were telling me that we were so different that it was not going to be possible for anything else to ever be between us," she answered trying not to feel the same pang at the thought.

It was a strong enough emotion to be transmitted to Spock,"You still feel distressed at that memory."

"Yes, but what did you mean what you were asking of me?"

His wife was a brilliant woman, but there were times that she was quite dense. He put down his fork. There would be no good time to speak of this. His wife was entitled to know the down side of being married to a Vulcan. "At the time, I was so deep in my first pon farr that it was almost impossible for me to think clearly. I knew that I had no choices open to me. My wife was on Vulcan, we were not going to Vulcan. When you came, I had determined to ask your help. If you had not informed me of our route change... Our lives would not be as they are now. You would not wish to be anywhere near me," he said, his voice trailing off in the shadows of the room.

"What do you mean? I know that pon farr is a mating urge, a primordial need to mate..."

"Not a need, a demand," Spock insisted and shoved away from the table. Christine could feel the shields go up, a sure sign of discomfort. With hands clasped behind his back, he looked rather odd in the blanket wrapped around him like a Buddhist robe. "It is a hunger, a command from another part of the psyche," he tried to explain. "It devours all rational thought until the hunger is satisfied."

"How long does it last?" Christine asked naively. She had read medical reports of scientific research on the subject, but it was still very elementary compared to the actual experiences of a Vulcan.

"It depends. In the young, it is unrelenting, overpowering for days, a week, perhaps more. You must understand that the purpose of pon farr is to procreate the species. The female is attuned to that. If she is not in the correct cycle, she is close enough to prolong the fever until she can conceive a child. In the older Vulcan or with a female that cannot conceive a child..." Here he stopped, noting with a slight change of inflection,"the pon farr is more protracted but perhaps not as violent. In that case, it is a hold over of the drive to mate, not necessarily governed by it."

"And in my case, I cannot conceive your child, so it will be the latter."

Spock nodded. His back was to her, his face toward the fire to stare into the flame. Christine thought a moment, realized that this was no mere 'duty' that he had to perform or a chore, but it was something that dictated to him how he would live and think for a time. She met him at the fireplace, "And then how long?"

"Perhaps a week before the fever would burn itself out. I do not want to hurt you," he apologized before hand.

"Hurt me?" she asked becoming concerned.

"This is not a question of simply having sex every night or twice a day until things blow over. It is a rutting of bodies. There will be no love, no tenderness, no concern for either of our well beings once it begins. It is a drive that has killed in its intensity. Do you understand?" She nodded a little sick to her stomach. With his strength...

"I could break your neck and not know it until it was too late," he finished the thought for her.

"But your mother?"

"Has had to be treated numerous times. My father has been almost beside himself in his grief when that occurs. He does love her as I do you, yet it has not saved her from the pain. When the time comes, it will be necessary to be in contact with a hospital or a private physician in case the situation becomes too critical."

Christine was fighting back the mental images of being forcefully raped and ravaged over and over again. That she could control. She wanted Spock, it would not be as horrible as he determined it would be. "But we have time..."

"Yes, there are still years before it overcomes me again."

She nodded, relieved. She would have to speak to Amanda on the subject so that she would be completely prepared. A thought came to her, "This occurs every ... seven years? How have you survived it all this time?"

Spock waited. How to tell her? It had to be the truth, lies served no purpose. Turning, he took her hand in his, studied it, caressed her cheek that was not turning black and blue. "Come ... there is much to explain."

He led her to the mattress beside the fireplace. "My first pon farr was unusual in that it was resolved without sexual release. My mind was able to comprehend what had occurred after I had fought the captain. I have often meditated on that instance and wondered if it was not a false pon farr. My second pon farr was more intense, so intense that I cannot recall clearly what occurred. I had no mate as I did the first time. I point to that as to the cause of the more intense distress. There are ... arrangements one can make if there are no mates or the individual chooses to live a mateless life. I do not know her name, nor do I wish to know it. From records, it took almost eight days to 'douse the flames'."

"Then you have a child somewhere?" she assumed, remembering what he said.

He shook his head. "No, there are no children from my genes. It would have been possible to conceive a child, but to bring the child to a live birth would have been difficult without extensive therapy and scientific treatments. While the woman would have gone through that for the sake of the child's life, it did not occur and became a moot point." Spock stopped a moment, regarded his wife in the light of the fire, whispered, "You are so beautiful."

Christine wanted more information. "How many pon farrs have you gone through?"

"Four. The third, I do not recall at all. In fact, the only person who would is a Kohlinaru."

"Saavik?" she assumed startled. Spock had always spoken of her as a father would a daughter, not a potential mate.

He nodded. "I was dead. They found me. While my body grew, adapted to the planet's changing ecosystems, I grew as well. She fulfilled my need although I was not there. I was in McCoy's head. Although she has never imparted this to me, I believe that is why she sought out the adepts. The strain of that incident and the death of David Marcus caused her great distress. She sought out solace and I could offer none to her. I had no association with her other than her Starfleet records and did not recall any 'emotional' connections to her until much later. By that time, I had no way to speak to her."

"What would you say if you could?"

Spock considered a moment. He had thought about Saavik often. He missed the opportunity that had let his hand guide a young person's life. "I do not know. I would perhaps answer any questions she might have of me."

Christine mentally calculated the years. There was another, only a few years ago. One name formed in her consciousness. "Valeris?"

He nodded, his face almost contorted in shame. "She had agreed to the pairing. My pon farr occurred before Praxus blew up. The subsequent talks and chaos kept us from formalizing our agreement. It is fortunate that it did."

With more force than he had wished to allow to come to the surface, he grasped her hands, held them, his eyes bore into hers. "I cannot understand why I did not see her for what she was. I could have saved Gorkon."

Christine's face frowned in concern. She would not let him know that he was hurting her. She would try to reassure him. "Spock, that is past. You cannot allow it to drive you. History would have unfolded, if not in that manner, in another."

His grip loosened, became a light touch. He shook his head slightly. He would accept that, but he did not believe it. He felt completely at fault for the incident. Her kiss sent warmth and strong love through their bond. With closed eyes, he placed his forehead on hers. "Such a wife..."

"With a black eye and a broken bed," she added to instill some humor in the situation. Her mind fired his with tendrils of passion.

He snorted. "You are an insatiable woman."

"Well, if you'd rather we just call it a night..." she relented. He had no such intent. His lips brushed hers, worked their way down her neck slowly. The heat of their first lovemaking was gone, replaced by a tender amber glow of desire and deep affection. His hands caressed, lightly fluttered over her like butterflies. Her hands soothed the tension from his body that the conversation had created, she just wanted to ease his pain. This time, their lovemaking was slow, without effort or the bursts of near mania. He wanted to be tender, gentle, kind to her, not rough or insistent. Spock locked eyes with her as he moved in and out inside her. She was calm, serene, almost glassy in her expression. But, he could sense what she really felt. He was taking her quietly and easily with him upward to those heights that before had her trembling in his arms. She made no moans of utter desire, the sound of her steady unlabored breathing his companion and guide to her pleasure. She was on a calm sea, almost floating in water and so relaxed as if she were on a raft and sunning herself. It was so ethereal. Before, it had been raw, more animalistic. Now, it was the rational lovemaking that was bringing the desires filtering through her to her body. She could feel her feet tingle. Eventually, that feeling would rise through her body to engulf her in such a sensory banquet that she would think she would surely die. Spock kissed her nose, caused her to smile at him in lazy contentment. No words passed through them, he didn't need words when he had her thoughts, her heart. The mattress did not make the satisfactory little noises that the bed had, but he did not care. He had her in a state of true bliss, and he wished to keep her there as long as possible. But, his own resolve was fast fading. He could not keep up the constant friction of his penis stroking her vagina forever. With a slight smile, he decided to put her on a higher plane.

Gently, he removed himself from her, still wet with her fluids. She knew what he intended to do, welcomed it openly. His tongue lapped at her, causing shudders to rack through her. She made no noise. Her back arched slightly. With slow deliberate licks, he tasted deep. Her labia contracted and released eager for more. He knew that if he had cum inside her that that action would be placing more and more of his semen into her uterus. Diving deeper into her, he could not stretch his tongue out any further than it would go, but he wanted to just to please her. He dared look at his wife in her state. She had her back arched, breasts extended and firm, her legs pushing her to a point that she had her buttocks slightly off the mattress. Her arms were held stiffly gripping the bed with all her might. If he did not know better, he would have thought he was causing her excruciating pain. Perhaps he was. Removing his tongue for a moment, he tempted her with his fingers, did not move them hastily, but slowly, surely. A single whimper came from her throat although she clamped her mouth shut against it. Gently, he pushed against her legs, requesting her to relax, allow him to please her further. She complied, and as her legs went almost limp, she couldn't contain the sound any longer. His hands continued their work while he watched impassively, almost like a scientist watching a subject. He was drawn into her still features. He was usually so busy with his own orgasm that he could not pay close attention to hers. This time, his own needs were in the background. Hers were the only ones that mattered. With each probe, caress, knead, she moaned, each moment that passed the tingling became more and more overpowering. Her eyes were closed to the onslaught of feelings, she was not in this world any longer. She was in a paradise of sensation. He did not quicken his pace, did not urge her to go faster or harder to please him. He stayed at that tempo to keep her in her euphoria. It would come to a point that she could no longer stand it. When that time came, he would be there.

He considered her a work of art. He had loved women, had sex with more than the ones he had to, but he hadn't been able to consider them for any length of time. Christine was, in a way, the first person he had really made love to. Every night of their passions he found something new, something more spectacular than the last in her eyes. Now, he could see the wonder of the physical world and the emotional worlds separating. Even if he could not physically be with her, he could now create that world in her thoughts and mind. Love, he decided, was not a physical thing at all. It was purely mental. His massage deepened, created a cry from her, but not one of pain. He knew it was nearly time to end this for them both. Love was unending, but sex did have its limits. But before he did that, he would keep her aloft for a moment longer. His fingers left her, the sob that escaped came at the absence of his touch. She did not change position, did not assume that he was done. Lying as he had left her, she waited, floated unknowing what was taking place in the physical world. After a moment she sighed, then whispered his name as he once again became one with her. So many things he noticed as he rocked her gently against him, how her skin was almost translucent in the light, the thin sheen of perspiration that covered her glittered at times like diamonds. Her throat was exposed as she had her head tilted back. The creamy shoulders were flat, taut against the bed, the arms outstretched to their full extent. At some point, he began to lose the cohesion he had between watching her and wanting to release his entire essence in her. With no sound, he did so, held his breath with the intensity, stopped his motion. Christine remained fixed, glued in that position as she came down from her clouds slowly, not falling to earth like some tempted angel.

Spock extricated himself from her, slipped beside her, lay down to place his head on her chest. Her heart was racing so hard he could scarcely count it. It took her a full two minutes before she spoke, "Spock..."

"Yes."

She only smiled, her eyes still closed. Turning so that she was full length with him, she caressed his cheek. She was so high she couldn't speak, couldn't think. She could only drift. It had been an experience that she had never had but wanted again. But not tonight, tonight she was so tired, so overcome that she had to sleep. Spock kissed her forehead as she floated into slumber. His wife, his love, his soul lay there in that bed. After a time, he covered them both with the quilts and dozed in the arms of his beloved.

* * *

Morning light poured into the bedroom windows that faced east. Without curtains it was almost blinding in its intensity. Spock lay still. He cherished the times that he had with his thoughts and his wife alone. He really didn't think of anything. He allowed his mind to drift in the calm. They had a long happy life to look forward to in this house. Others had been born here, lived here, died here. While he knew that she would not come close to living as long as he would if natural lifespans were to be the rule, he would not choose another who could go the entire journey with him. If he had to spend a century alone it would be worth the few decades they could have together. But such thoughts brought a strange melancholy over him that he had to get under control or could easily shadow his contentment. Out of all the emotions that roiled inside him, melancholy and guilt were the hardest to deal with. The melancholy was almost a carry over of his attempt to keep calm. It was like a drug that could just as easily deaden all his senses without him wanting it to. Something in his mind thought of the words to an old song that his mother liked to sing while she puttered around the garden.

Without meaning to, he sang some of the words aloud, "I used to walk in the shade, with those blues on parade, but I'm not afraid cause this rover crossed over. If I never had a cent, I'd be rich as Rockefeller, gold dust at my feet on the sunny side of the street..."

Christine murmured, "What?"

"I did not intend to wake you," he apologized.

She opened one eye, gingerly opened the other to look at him. "It's okay, I like you as an alarm clock. You should sing more often."

"It would not be logical. That is Miss Uhura's venue."

"True. Hmmm, what a night. How does my eye look or do I want to know? It feels awful," she complained.

Spock shook his head. "It is not good. It appears to have swollen to twice its normal size and your eye will be permanently impaired."

"What?" she exclaimed and touched her face. It was only slightly swollen. "You ... just for that, you get grits for breakfast ... and prunes."

"I shall never tease you about your eye again," he promised.

Christine lay back to look at the ceiling. The night hadn't allowed her to take in too many of the exquisite details of the room. There was a medallion in the center where the modest chandelier hung. It was the scene of a sailing ship and a lighthouse. "This is such a lovely house, and I haven't even been given the full and proper tour. Do you plan on doing that for me today?"

"After we have dressed. I did not have breakfast delivered so we shall have to go out for it. I thought a tour of the island would be nice. We can go furniture shopping. We have a large house to fill after all."

"The first thing I want is a new bed. That's dangerous." She sat up allowing the quilt to fall to her waist. Spock remained lying so he could view her back. In the light there was a faded scar that ran the length of her spine from between her shoulder blades to nearly her waist. He had never seen it before. He traced it with his fingers. "Where did you get this?"

"That tickles ... I had to have corrective surgery as a teenager. My back was becoming quite crooked. A simple matter to sort of splint it to a stiff rod to keep it from getting any more grotesque. I grew five inches when that happened."

"Indeed. Does it hurt?"

She shook her head. " Not particularly. At first it was awful. I bawled for days it hurt so badly. But after you get used to it and what you can and can't do it's not too bad. It's a dull ache sometimes, usually when a storm is getting ready to come in. That was the nice thing about starship life. No arthritis pain from changing barometric pressure." Turning to look at him over her shoulder," Do you miss it?"

Spock nodded. "There are times. I have spent more time in space than on a planet so it is an adjustment. I would not go back to that life now. A mission for diplomatic purposes or a visit or a specific research mission would be satisfactory. But, I no longer wish to roam the stars. I have a home now that I did not have before."

He didn't speak of just a physical piece of property. He had always maintained property on Earth as well as Vulcan. But now, he had a reason to stay there, to be there. Christine smiled at him, "So, how's the shower?"

"There is no shower," he admitted sheepishly.

"What?"

"There is a tub, a clawfoot, porcelain enameled monstrosity that is original to the house, or so I was told. It does look comfortable but not for two."

"Well, we will simply have to remedy that. How big is the kitchen?"

Spock decided it was time to get up, found that lying on the floor with the mattress was actually better on his back than the softer mattress and box springs. "Come and see," he offered standing stark naked in the chilled room.

She shook her head. "Huh-uh, yer neked."

His cough hid the laugh that almost came out. "Then I shall go attend to the nudity. You are in a similar state, but I am not the one complaining."

A pillow chased him out the room.

* * *

The downstairs was cold. The fires that had been laid had grown cold long ago in the night. Spock showed her the French doors that led out to the side verandah. It had been a screen porch at one time by the look of the railings. "That would be nice to put the screens back," Christine decided. One thing that the East Coast was resplendent with was bugs in the evening.

A door led through a hall area to a pantry and the kitchen area. A stairway led up to the upper side hall and down to the cellar where the utilities were. The kitchen had been updated. Christine did not like it too well. They had attempted to keep it rustic but modern and it had ended up looking rather outdated. It was also a separate room entirely from the rest of the house. She wanted to entertain while she cooked, not kept apart from her guests. "This will have to change or go or something..."

Another door led to a more recently added porch that had been used in the summer for a summer dining porch. That was helpful. Christine thought a moment. "You know the other dining room would be fine for a formal 'look at only' dining room, but if we were to enclose this one in a proper way, I mean this is so slapped together. But, we could open the kitchen to this side of the house and create a large family kitchen with an island or a nook for breakfast and a large seating area with comfortable chairs, a fireplace. Oh, that would be nice. And next year for Christmas, this huge tree will go in that front parlor window, and we can have everyone stay here," she decided. She could see it plain as day. But, there was a lot of work that needed done while she looked around. It was nothing that would drive them from the house while they lived there though. The kitchen would have to do for now. She was so excited to get started looking for things to fill it with.

"We should decide which of our own things we wish to bring."

"I don't have any particular love for any of the stuff I have. Your things are still in storage though. But, you told me there was a study?"

He nodded, took her up via the kitchen stairs, walked over to a door in the hall and opened it. "How many sets of stairs are in this house?" she asked noting that the one from the kitchen went up as well.

"A good many. They apparently got a lot of exercise in 1895," he mentioned as they went up a slightly cramped staircase. The room was oddly shaped, crudely decorated, but magnificent in form and size. The doors Spock had spoken of opened easily to the balcony and Christine took her first look at the view that they had.

"My God," she whispered. If she stood there forever and a day she'd never get enough of the sight. She could see over the waves out to sea. It was truly an inspiration.

"Do you like it?" Spock asked.

Christine turned to him, stricken nearly dumb, "Like it..."

For the first time since he had met her she ran to his arms in delight.

* * *

The antique shop's bell rang delightedly as Spock and Christine entered. She'd spied the off the road home that had been converted into a business as they headed out for breakfast and insisted they stop to see what was available. Spock concluded that there had been very few Vulcans visit Block Island since the shopkeeper's stare kept him in constant view as they maneuvered through the rooms. Christine's voice brought him into focus, "Spock, come look at this."

Spock stepped into a large parlor of sorts. Christine was intent on a large velvet covered couch, chaise, and set of chairs. The velvet was fairly well worn, but the bones of the furniture was what Christine could see. "You wish this set?"

"I think it would be perfect. We could have it recovered, and it would be so..." She tried finding the right words.

"Perfect," Spock supplied.

"Yes. What color do you think would be best?"

"Black," Spock decided knowing that he would be quickly vetoed.

"No. Dark cranberry, that would be beautiful or maybe a dark royal purple. We'll have to check with the upholsterer. They are comfortable too. Try the chaise," she urged.

Spock did as she requested, found that although they were what Vulcans would consider overstuffed, they were tufted and added an element of rigidity that most modern furniture lacked.

"There are springs in the cushions instead of in the base of the pieces," the shopkeeper supplied at Spock's rather perplexed expression. They also smelled old.

"It is really a very well maintained set."

"My wife wishes to purchase it," Spock replied which stunned the shopkeeper into silence for nearly the rest of their stay. Christine peered over her dark sunglasses. They did a fair job of covering the bruise that had spread across her lower eyelid and kept the glaring sunlight out of her blue eyes. She was still finding it hilariously funny to gauge the reactions of those around them when they found out she was a venerable Vulcan's wife. She did not look the part. By the time they left, they had agreed upon the parlor set, a dining table, and a large buffet that Christine would have turned into an entertainment center. She beamed as she told the man where to deliver the items. He seemed impressed, "You are the new owners of Inspiration Point?"

"We certainly are," she smiled.

* * *

Christine once again resisted the urge to take Spock's hand as they walked out into the bright sunlight. She took in a deep cleansing breath of the fresh island air. She didn't want to get back in the skimmer. It was a beautiful day. Gathering the woolen cloak about her to keep the chill from getting in, she looked at her husband, held out her hand, "Come with me. Let's walk around the place."

Without hesitation, he took the hand. She had promised that she would not be physically affectionate in the manner humans were if they were in public, but there were exceptions to every rule. He grasped it firmly to let her know that he enjoyed her touch and did not shirk from it. They began walking down the tree-lined streets. Christine could see them full of leaves and blossoms in the spring and shading the heat in the summer. But it was fall that she was going to look forward to. The gold and copper leaves would be glorious against the blue skies. Something about walking beside a man who wished to claim her as a wife and knowing that he sacrificed a great deal to allow just this simple pleasure made it that more special to her. She pulled his hand in tighter so that he had to walk in step with her instead of slightly ahead or behind. Her head was lowered shyly. Spock found it strangely provocative. He stopped her from walking across the street, pulled her to him to engulf her in his embrace, and in front of a stopped car, kissed her soundly. A smile graced his lips as they parted, "You were concerned that I somehow do not love you in public."

"Not really, but I'll take all the kisses I can get." Her manner became almost solemn. Her eyes avoided his. An index finger pulled it up to meet his eyes. "What is wrong?"

"Just wondering when the storybook will end. I've found that in my life I cannot rely on happiness long. It's a great gift, but it expires. I'm not saying that something is going to change my love or us, but it's almost like the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. Don't you feel it?"

Spock shook his head. He felt nothing but peace and contentment for the first time in his life. He had not felt this even on Gol. A shiver went through her as the wind picked up and ruffled the cloak. He whispered, "We should go. You wished to see the other antique stores in town."

Christine agreed, but the pall had already taken hold of her heart. The rest of the day was spent in uneasy expectation even though she was reminded that they had nothing to fear.

* * *

"You are absolutely certain that you don't want to come with us on this thing?" Jim Kirk was asking as he perused the chess board that Spock had set up in the study. With a little elbow grease and a great deal of furniture buying, they had settled into Inspiration Point in short order although Christine still wanted a few remodeling jobs done. The kitchen was still completely unacceptable to her.

"It is not a point of preference now. I am going to be on my way to Sigma Iotia II with Father. I will not be here," Spock said as he considered Kirk's move.

"Well, had to try, didn't I? I hate these things, but they insisted I go. It was easier to just agree and get it over with than it was to resist. I am glad that Christine suggested Carol stay with you here. She still has nightmares. She's been having them more and more lately," he said absently. He knew that Spock would not betray a confidence unless he needed to speak to Christine about the matter.

"About David?" Spock asked to clarify.

"She doesn't say specifically. She just says that she's having a nice dream and then it turns ugly. The more I press her the more defensive she gets."

The sounds of a seagull broke the sudden silence, and Jim Kirk smiled, "You know, life works in definite mysterious ways. Who would have thought that you, the Vulcan out of the group, would be the first one to settle down and find happiness?"

"You do not consider Captain Sulu's marriage and subsequent daughter happiness?" Spock asked. Sulu had married twenty years earlier while the Enterprise was still on its second set of five-year missions with Jim Kirk as Captain. The marriage had not been a lengthy one, but the daughter that had been produced had been her father's pride and joy as well as the rest of her surrogate aunts and uncles.

"I mean true happiness. You didn't just marry Christine on a spur of the moment romance. You've known her for over twenty years. I must admit that I lost the bet though," Kirk admitted and moved his bishop.

Spock considered his move, "The bet?"

"There was a bet that you'd marry Christine sooner or later. I had my bets on after the first five-year mission. Then you went and headed out and screwed up my chances at the pot."

"Who did win?" Spock asked curious to know who had profited on their marriage.

"Mmm, Uhura had the tote board all these years. I think it was Jeff M'Benga. I believe he phrased it ... when Hell froze over or the Klingons came bearing gifts. I think that we can safely say that Hell has frozen over. Checkmate," Kirk said and tipped Spock's king over.

Spock looked at the board. He'd played chess with Kirk for 30 years, and still, he could not win satisfactorily. It was infuriating as usual. Kirk smirked a little, that little boy smile he had taking over his features. "Okay, so. Tell me something."

"What?"

"What's it like to be content after all these years?"

Spock thought a moment. It was a question that he had pondered several nights as he lay with Christine beside him. Why had she made him happy. Was this happy? "I can only say that it is a great weight that is missing. There is no longer a darkness."

Kirk nodded. He could remember the times he was married, brief though they were. With Miramanee he'd been happy, but there was his memory that had nagged him to unhappiness. With Lori Ciani it had been a marriage of convenience, her death had been a blow to him but not emotionally distressing enough to keep him from other females. "I'll let you in on a secret."

"You wish to marry Carol Marcus."

"No fair peeking. How'd you guess?"

Spock stood up from the old leather easy chair went over to a bookcase to light one of the candles that he traditionally had smoldering. "It is quite evident in the way you regard her. The two of you have made astounding progress since David's death."

"It's both pulled us together and ripped us apart. They say that the death of a child usually destroys a couple, but for some reason we realized that we didn't have any choice but to stay together."

With a sly grin, he stood, took a box out of his pocket, "Here's the ring."

Spock was appreciative of the diamond laden eternity band. It was a regret that he had not actually given Christine an official engagement ring. She assured him that she did not dwell on it for even a moment. "You wish to give it to her now?"

"No, I'm gonna wait till I get back from this jaunt. I don't want to give it to her and then head out for a joyride. To me that would seem like abandoning her again, what do you think?"

"I can see where that might be construed in that manner. However, you could speak to Dr. Marcus first and gauge her reactions."

"Nope, I'm gonna stick to what I planned. The night I get back. You'll be the best man, won't you?"

"I would be honored. Does Dr. McCoy know yet?"

"Yep, he'll be right next to you. If we're lucky we'll find a place like this to call ours."

"Perhaps I could inquire on the island. There are properties for sale."

"No, that's okay. While the East Coast may suit you and Christine, Carol and I prefer San Francisco."

Spock nodded, could hear footsteps coming from the second floor. Christine's head appeared at the bottom of the stairs, "Hey you two, dinner's ready."

The smells of fresh bread and savory soup seemed to follow her. Kirk grinned, "Spock, you are a lucky man. You not only got a beautiful woman, but she cooks too."

Christine's blue eyes twinkled in the light. "Actually, I was too busy at Starfield to cook. This is Spock's doing."

Spock's heightened eyebrow was Kirk's only reply as they walked down stairs.

* * *

"So you're coming with me to Starfield tomorrow?" Christine affirmed as she passed a basket filled with twisted bread rolls to her.

"If you want me to. I guess with these two off on their little joyrides, we can spend the day in deep research," Carol sighed. Both women knew that their own research had taken precedence over relationships before. It was just a fact of life that had to be dealt with. Spock chose a roll, placed it beside his soup bowl, regarded his wife. "You will also remember to eat while I am gone?"

Christine chuckled. "Spock, I have gained at least five kilos since you have learned to cook. I don't think that there is any danger of me starving to death. Besides I'm sure that you have given your mother instructions on how to take care of me. Really, you are insufferable, husband."

The little teasing that she gave him reminded Kirk of the times he would hear Uhura call him 'sugah' on the bridge. There was a gentle banter and a genteel manner between the two that had taken all those years to develop. He gave Carol a wink. "I don't know, spending the night here with these newlyweds."

"They'll probably keep us up all night," she sighed and tried the soup. It was delicious.

"No, we have made certain to put you on the opposite end of the house, and the master bedroom has had special sound dampening equipment installed," Christine answered seriously. Kirk never knew how to take her. She dead-panned so easily. He turned to Spock who was much easier to read.

Spock looked at him. " She speaks the truth."

"Good grief. Let's just eat the soup."

The meal passed without any more conversation. Jim and Spock once again retired to the study, after some debate about the dishes with the ladies, to play more chess. Carol and Christine stayed in the living room with the fireplace and hot cocoa.

"Do you want to watch anything while we're stranded?" Christine asked referring to the fact that the men had disappeared as soon as the last clink of their spoons had resounded in their bowls. The two women sat on the comfortable settee that faced the redesigned entertainment unit. It had been the first thing that Christine demanded be changed when they moved. The buffet acted as a buffet when not in use but housed her entire movie collection as well as the viewer and the stereo.

"Might as well watch one of those so-called 'female' movies. That way they can't complain when it gets too sappy."

Chapel smiled, patted Carol on the hand. "I like the way you think, lady. I have the perfect choice, a real moldy oldie. Have you ever seen Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in Penny Serenade? If you do not cry in that movie, you are either made of stone, dead, or asleep."

"What about Vulcan?" Carol asked with a bit of curiosity. Spock was Jim Kirk's best friend, she respected him as such, but she could not for the life of her figure out the Vulcan lifestyle.

Christine opened the buffet doors and searched through the stack of movies. Finding the one she wanted, she started the viewer and popped the tape in. "If you want to know a secret now, don't tell anyone because this would give away their trade secrets, but Vulcans are more emotional than humans. In fact, not only Spock, but Amanda and Sarek has seen this movie with me, and both of those men suddenly got a case of the runny noses. Now, as you and I both know, the Vulcan nasal and sinus passages are different than ours are. They do not produce phlegm the way we do. The only time that they become stuffed up with snot is either 1: they have a certified disease that would normally kill us and only gives them post nasal drip, or 2: their eyes have produced too much moisture. It sort of purifies the pores if you will. Now, in humans that moisture is tears. In Vulcans they call it 'sinus' trouble. You will never convince me or Amanda that they did not, at the least, get a little teary eyed at this movie."

Carol was a little surprised. Not that Spock had emotions, but that they would be so easily moved by a mere piece of celluloid that was over 300 years old. The two women settled in to watch the black and white feature. It was a tear jerker in the most horrific way. This couple who could not have children adopts a girl and loves her deeply and then she is taken from them and nearly destroys them both. As Christine watched the film, she became increasingly uncomfortable. It was a favorite of hers, but she realized that to Carol Marcus, who had lost a son that she loved more deeply than anything in the universe, it might not be a good movie to watch. By the time the end arrived, Christine was certain it was a lousy film to watch. Carol had her head buried in her hands. "Viewer off," Christine said quietly and went over to hug Carol. "I'm sorry, I didn't even think."

"It's all right. It's all right. I just have bad spells that's all. They captured the essence of two people in pain so well. It's a little like the way Jim and I were when David first died. We hadn't seen each other in so long that we no longer had anything in common and yet we had David. David was a bridge between us and when he was gone that bridge wasn't there. We had to rebuild everything. There are times when I wonder why we even bothered."

Christine sat back on the settee, the firelight the only ambient illumination in the room. It cast odd shadows across the two women's faces as they sat in the dark. "Do you still love him, because I believe I can be safe in saying that he still loves you."

"I love him, but love isn't the all conquering emotion it's touted to be in poetry. You should know that. It takes work and commitment to have a lasting relationship. I do think that we are both finally at a place where we can give and take in appropriate measure. I guess that's my analytical way of saying that yes, I do love him, and yes, I'm willing to work with him for a relationship. You know I was a little reticent. I mean, look at us, we're in our 60s and trying to start off like a couple of kids. You'd think we'd be smarter than that. But, when you and Spock married, it really gave us both something to think about. Here you two were as oddly a matched pair as there ever was, but you hadn't let time or space or death separate the two of you."

"You sound like Spock. He insists that we were 'made' for each other from the beginning, and we just had to grow into our roles. Maybe that's the way it is with you and Jim."

"Maybe, but if so, we were two irregulars that were made for each other," Carol decided and chuckled.

"Okay, we've seen the soap opera, now what?"

"McCoy said he sent Spock a tape I'd like to see, what was it?"

Christine started laughing, rolled off the couch onto the floor. Carol just stared as if she'd gone insane.

* * *

"You are going to be late if you don't get going," Carol prodded as Kirk moved his bishop. He pouted, "I don't want to go. I hate these things."

"It'll be a one day ordeal. When it's over with, you can come back and lounge around all day."

"But Spock will be gone when I get back and you two don't play chess," he grumbled as Carol patted him on the shoulder.

Kirk started to move, realized that the game was not completed and sat back. "I can't leave yet, the game isn't over."

Spock did not support him. "We can suspend the game until the next time you return. I will not move any of the pieces."

"I don't know. I guess I'll have to trust you. You, try not to get in any trouble out on Iotia. Say hello to Bela for me," Kirk was saying as they headed down the stairs to the second floor.

"I shall do that. However, I believe that Mr. Krakow is the one we will be meeting with this time."

Christine popped her head out the bedroom. "Is it time for you to go already? Have a good time, Jim."

"Thanks," he smiled and hugged her quickly before going down to the ground floor. "You're going to keep Carol busy at Starfield while I'm gone, aren't you?"

"We should be there all day tomorrow. Do you want us to pick you up at the station when you get in?"

"I'm not really sure when this thing will be over, so I'll have to just get a ride back."

Carol hugged Jim, kissed him affectionately, rubbed his cheek with the back of her hand. "You be good."

"Honey, I'm going to be gone not even 24 hours. I'll call Starfield to make sure you're not there when I get in."

The two men took off for the tram station. Spock would drop Kirk off and come back to spend the night with his wife before taking off for Sigma Iotia II in the morning. Kirk watched the landscape of Block Island go by as they made their way to the ferry. "Spock, I wish you could be coming along, it would at least give me someone to talk to."

"There are Captains Scott and Chekov accompanying you."

"Yeah, but they argue over Scotch and vodka all day. It seems as if we're all split apart. I don't like it, but that's life. I am glad to see that you are settled."

"You have mentioned that," the Vulcan mentioned as he turned to the ferry station. Presenting the pass and driving forward easily, he parked the skimmer and the two men sat waiting to take off. They were right on time.

"Well, out of all of us, you were perhaps the most independent." Kirk removed his belt and stretched his legs out under the dash.

"On the contrary, I would say that I am the most dependent. Marriage to Christine has proven that incontrovertibly," Spock admitted without meeting his friend's eyes.

"It's nice to have a woman love you, isn't it?"

"It is something I would never have imagined that I would desire. Now, it is as if my entire purpose in life is to please her."

"So Vulcans and humans really aren't that different," Kirk laughed. He remembered something. "Oh, here, before I forget and lose it, you keep this for me okay. I'll pick it up when I get back."

Jim Kirk handed Spock the small velvet box that held the ring he intended to give to Carol Marcus. Spock took it and placed it in his pocket. He would give it to Christine to place in the safe when he got back.

* * *

A piercing scream ripped through the still house. Christine would have fallen out of bed if she hadn't been tangled in her husband's arms but stumbled out to the guest room and fumbled with the door. Carol was sitting straight up in the guest bed, tears streaming down her face and shivering from her nightmare. "Jim," she called.

"Carol?" Christine answered with a questioning voice. She knew that Carol had been having horrid nightmares. This must have been what Jim had been telling them about.

"Jim?"

"Carol, it's Christine, you're with Spock and I. Jim is on the Enterprise. He'll be back tomorrow," she reassured and pulled Carol's hands away from her face.

Carol was shaking her head, "No, he's not. He's gone."

"Carol, he's just away for the day. He'll be back," Christine said and held the woman against her. She looked up at the doorframe where Spock was standing. In the dim light that had come on when Christine had walked in, he looked odd, ill. Something was wrong, but she wasn't sure what. He was silent. His eyes were dark and unseeing as if...

"Oh God," Christine whispered realizing that Carol had not been wrong.

"Christine," Spock said as if he could not go another moment without her support.

"Carol, let me get you something cool to drink. I'll be right back," she said and left the weeping woman in the bed while she went out in the hall with Spock. He bumped into the wall uncharacteristically.

"Spock, what is it?"

"Something has happened. I cannot tell you precisely what, but Jim is not with us anymore. There was a link, from all the years of melds, not as strong as the bond I share with you, but enough to jolt me out of bed at the same instant that Carol screamed. Somehow, she knew, as did I, that Jim is..." He couldn't bring himself to say the word.

"Dead?" Christine finished. Unable to help her husband and not wanting to return to the guest room, she stood in the hall for a time. Spock staggered up to the study and shut the door. He would have to meditate in order to bring his mind back to some peace and calm. The man that he had called friend, brother, and a soulmate was gone.

Christine remembered the water and took the cup back into Carol's room. There wasn't much she could do there either. Carol had heard Spock's statement. "He's gone. I heard. Chris, he's gone."

Christine held Carol tightly, stroking the silvery blonde hair as the tears flowed down her to soak the light nightgown Christine wore. She held her that way until dawn.

* * *

Christine had fallen asleep sometime in the night, but she was still in Carol's room and still had her cradled in her grasp. Carol had cried herself into some amount of oblivion hours before. Downstairs, Chris could hear the beeping of the comm unit that was in the kitchen below. Gently, she removed the woman's form and settled her into the bed. Stiff and drained, the Vulcan's wife attempted to pull herself together as she headed for the comm unit. The clock was chiming seven, and she knew it was probably Sarek wondering where Spock was. She was right. From her appearance Sarek guessed something was wrong.

"Jim is dead."

A flicker of something went across his features. "Is there anything we can do?"

"No, I don't think so. Spock is meditating. He was pretty shaken. Said something about a bond that had been broken. He looked almost ill," she described.

"Yes, I can imagine that he will be unavailable for some time. Those two were as brothers. I shall have to leave for Sigma Iotia II without him. Does Dr. Marcus know?"

Christine nodded. "Strangely enough, she seemed to know before Spock did. No, actually, Spock said that he felt Jim's presence leave at the same instant that she screamed. She was asleep."

"Do you know the details?" Sarek asked and allowed Amanda to share the screen.

"No, I don't know anything. We haven't had any information. I only know that I have two people who know for certain that Jim is dead or gone or something. I think I can handle Carol, but what about Spock? I don't know what to do with him," she pleaded.

"Allow him to meditate. Do not disturb him even if you think he has been there too long. Remember that Vulcans can go for weeks without food or water. He will have to sort out the situation for himself," Sarek provided. Christine could see that the news had startled Amanda into tearing up. She had considered James Kirk like a son since she had met him.

"And afterwards?" Christine asked almost helplessly realizing that life with Spock may never be the same as it had been. Jim Kirk had been a major, if not the major influencing factor in her husband's life up until then.

Amanda supplied the answer. "Love him more than you ever thought you could. He'll need it."

Another message was coming in. "I have to go. Someone else is on the line. I'll let you know the moment I hear what really happened."

The faces faded and was replaced with one very weary Scotsman. "Lassie."

"Scotty, what happened," Christine asked.

"Spock knows then?"

"He felt something. Carol knows too. What do I tell them?" the former Starfleet nurse asked desperate for information.

"He died saving the ship, just like he always wanted. I'll send you a transcript of the entire thing. I'm sae tired trying to explain. Just tell Spock he died a hero."

"Have you told Leonard yet?"

"Chekov is doing that now. He's not taking it verra well. Tell Spock that there's nothing he could hae done. It's just one of those freak accidents that no one could have seen coming."

Christine nodded, smiled at him. "You need to get some rest, Mr. Scott."

"I'm too tired to sleep. I think I've aged half a century in the last five hours."

"I'll call Uhura. Demora? How is Demora?" Christine asked suddenly remembering Sulu's daughter that was also aboard the Enterprise-B.

"She's right as rain. Kirk is the only crew casualty. I'm sending the transcript for you to show to Spock. The ship will be in dock by 0900 tomorrow. Lass, I have to go," Scotty said and nodded to some off screen person.

"All right, I'll see you soon. Scotty, take care of yourself. I'll take care of things here."

The comm board went dark and for a time she sat in the still kitchen listening to the various sounds of the house. She was alone in her thoughts, her husband deep in a healing meditation, her friend in a stupor that would not last forever. She had to call Uhura to let her know, but it was not even 0600, and she knew that Uhura was a late sleeper if she could do it. She'd wait until after she got dressed and ready to call. "Ready, ready for what?" she asked herself.

Picking up the old-fashioned whistling teakettle, she filled it with water and put it on to boil. It was just getting warm when the comm unit beeped again. McCoy's unshaven face greeted her. "Christine."

"We know. Spock's meditating, he knew when it happened," she tried to explain in as few words as possible.

"I figured he'd know. How's Carol, or does she know?" Leonard nodded and tried to keep from sniffing.

"No, she knew it when it happened too. Apparently, she dreamt it. God, Leonard what do I do? Are you all right?"

"I'll be okay. Did Scotty tell you what happened?"

"He's sending me the transcript. I'm going to call Uhura, but I thought I'd wait until it was a more decent hour in California. I really don't want to call her," Christine admitted softly.

"Yeah. I'm supposed to be watching the baby today, but if you don't mind, I'll head up that way. I don't want to sit here by myself."

"You are always welcome, you know that. You can help me with Spock. He was supposed to go to Iotia with his father today, but Sarek has excused him. I really don't know what to do with Spock. He was just so out of it or lost or something when he went to meditate."

"He'll figure out something, just leave him be. I know, all these years I've picked at him and here I am telling you to leave him alone. Must be getting mellow in my old age." The Georgia boy looked a hundred years old. The growth of beard didn't help any.

The teakettle began to scream. "I'm gonna go, you get ready and come on up. I'll be here."

They said goodbye and Christine went to pour out the water for the tea. She could hear shuffling on the floor above her. She knew it had to be Carol. If she was going to call Uhura in private, she'd have to do it now. Hitting the auto dial, it took her a while to rouse Uhura out of bed. The former communications officer was not pleased. "Chris, what are you doing? It's not even 6 yet."

"You need to sit down."

"What?"

"You need to sit down," she repeated and the look on her face convinced Uhura that she was right. "Okay."

"I just got word that Jim is dead. I don't know precise details, but it happened on the Enterprise-B. Scotty, Chekov, and Demora are fine. That's all I know right now," she said waiting for the news to hit her friend.

Uhura nodded, the mode that she was always in during crisis aboard ship had kicked in. "What about plans?"

"Nothing has even been mentioned yet. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. How's Carol?"

The voice from behind Christine filtered through the comm link. "Tell her I'm alive, that's all I know right now."

Christine turned to look at Carol. There wasn't a whole lot of talk, but just the fact that there was an open comm link between them created a bond that they desperately needed. The women that had been foremost in Kirk's life sat on opposite ends of the continent. Christine sighed, "Leonard's coming as soon as he can. You know that you are welcome as well."

Carol noted the absence of Spock. "How's your husband?"

"I don't know. I really don't. He's in the study. Sarek said it would be best to just let him be until he decides. Meanwhile, I'm out here," Christine said and for the first time the pain at the loss of a man who had played a very important part in her life hit her. She was not as close to Jim Kirk as either of these women, but she had loved him as well. She had been as loyal to him as any of his original crew. He had seen her through the worst time in her life. Choking back tears, she found Carol's hand on her shoulder. There was strength in numbers.

They spoke for a few more moments, and it was decided that Uhura would stay where she was until there were more definite plans. Since Jim was Starfleet retired, it was logical that the memorial would be in San Francisco. "Besides, I have classes to teach, and it will keep my mind off things," she excused.

"All right, but if you decide other wise, you just come. Don't bother to ask," Christine assured.

"All right, I promise," Uhura said before she signed off to get ready for her day.

Carol sat staring into the mug of tea that she'd poured. She didn't really like tea. She just took it because it was there. She wanted something stronger, but it was too early to start drinking. "Do you know when Leonard will get here?"

"Depends on when he starts out. If he drives it'll be mid-afternoon before he gets here. If he takes a transport, I don't know when he'll arrive. Do you want some toast or something with the tea?"

Carol shook her head, just kept shaking it. She couldn't remember the dream anymore, but she could remember the feelings that she'd had. They had been empty, horrible feelings, the same that she'd had when she'd heard of her darling David's death. She had prayed that she'd never feel that way again and here she was, right back in that boat. With a groan, she lurched her head forward and nearly struck it on the table before she caught it in her hands. Christine's worry grew and for one of the first times in her life, she was at a complete loss to help. She couldn't dispense a pill or could she? "Do you want a tranquilizer?"

"No, no, that's not necessary. I might need something to help me sleep, but right now I'm wide-awake, and I don't want to go to sleep. You, how are you? I think you're going to have your hands full. Spock was closer to Jim," Carol began.

"Than I was, am," Christine finished and plopped down in the adjacent chair.

"I didn't mean it that way."

"No, but it is true. Spock and Jim were more than brothers, they were connected in a way that even the two of us aren't. I don't know if we ever will, especially now. I knew that this wouldn't last." The two women sat, dismal in their mutual despair. One was grieving for the man she had loved so long and finally thought she had and the other for the dead. "Did you inform Sarek?" Carol asked.

"He called when Spock was late. I told him, he went ahead without question. Maybe Amanda would do Spock some good," Christine thought and dialed up the embassy. Amanda appeared on the screen, a little bleary eyed. "Do you have time to come here today?"

"Of course. I can be there in half an hour. Do you want me to stay the night? I'll pack a bag if you do."

"If you want, it might be best. I don't know when Spock will come out of the study."

* * *

By evening they were all gathered. Spock was still holed up in the study. He had not moved since discovering Jim was dead. Christine considered going up to see him, but she did not wish to disturb him. Finally, as everyone stumbled into slumber in the various guest rooms, she decided to check on him at least before she went to bed. Slowly, softly, she started up the steps and was rather shocked to see Spock standing with his back to her, watching out the large windows. His voice was ragged and soft. "I do not wish to be disturbed."

"I thought I'd check, to see if you were all right," Christine said feeling quite guilty for coming up to her own study. Spock did not turn to her, kept his distance in both body and spirit. Since he'd disappeared up those steps earlier that morning, she'd been blocked from his thoughts and feelings. She felt more alone with him here than she did by herself. She reached the top of the stairs but did not cross into the room. She would leave if he wished it. Her first instinct was to rush to him, take him in her arms, but she also knew that the Spock that she'd known for 25 years would not appreciate that gesture. She wasn't certain if the man that she married was in the room or not.

"I am not 'all right.' However, it is something that no one can help me with, not you nor Dr. McCoy. I ask you to leave me alone," the deep voice answered.

She didn't move, kept her foot on the top step, but did not advance or go back down. She watched the stiff back, wanted him to turn around, wanted to see the look in his eyes. But, she also knew that if she saw those eyes, she might make a grave mistake. She was a Vulcan's wife. He was not human after all. If he showed no grief, it was not his fault because he was trained not to do so. If he showed grief, it would be a disgrace for him to appear in that form in front of others. She made her decision. With one step back, she turned to go back down. "I love you," she said softly.

He remained staring down at the sea in the dark. After she had gone down the length of the stairs and he could hear her enter their bedroom below. Her steps made their way to the window that was directly below the balcony. Only then, when he was certain that she was standing in harmony with him, but as far as she could be from him at the same time, did he whisper back," I love you too."

* * *

"When the hell is he coming down?" Leonard McCoy demanded after he'd been in Christine and Spock's home for almost twenty-four hours and still he hadn't seen or heard from the master of the house.

"I suppose when he wants to," Christine said softly, wondering herself when he would come out.

Amanda poured out tea and handed Leonard a bagel. "It may be days."

"Have you ever been through something like this with Sarek?"

Spock's mother shook her head. "Even when his own brother died, he was not this effected. Sarek and Satik were close but not the same way Spock and Jim were. Of course, Sarek is a whole Vulcan while Spock is only half. I imagine his human half is giving him hell right now."

Almost as an afterthought, everyone's eyes traveled upward. For a moment, they were in that study with their friend, even if it were only in spirit. Amanda stirred the cream in her tea. The clinking of the spoon was soft, in another time it wouldn't be noticeable, but here it was like the toll of a bell. They would wait. Word from Uhura had it that a memorial service would be held in three days when the full details of the occurrence on the Enterprise-B had been gone over with a fine-toothed comb. Everyone planned on attending, with a few exceptions. Sulu and Rand were out and couldn't make it in for the ceremony. Scotty and Chekov were going to be busy trying to piece together what happened but would be able to attend since they would essentially be there already, it was only Spock who was noticeably unheard from. Three times, Christine tried to go back up to the study but found that her hand couldn't turn the knob to the door. She felt almost like a protagonist in a horror movie that had a secret locked up and away from the world. She feared what she would find up there.

Night came to Inspiration Point precisely when it should have. Life had gone on, the world had not exploded, and Jim Kirk was still dead. The next day, the whole group would start out for California. Christine locked up the house after everyone else had gone to bed. She'd spent the last hour sitting alone in the cold on the porch. Amanda had admonished her for sitting out in the chill and warned her with that motherly tone that she would catch her death of cold. She'd smiled at that. It had been about the first smile that any of them had seen out of her in two days. Even Carol had begun laughing at some of McCoy's stories but not Christine. With a heavy soul and weary bones, she started up to the bedroom that had been horribly cold the night before. She couldn't very well sleep on the couch; she'd have to just tough it out in her own room. Stopping by the bath, she scrubbed her face, put a moisturizer on, and dared not look at herself in the mirror. The bed met her face with a thud. Above her, her husband lay, or stood, she wasn't sure which. He moved around so quietly that she could not hear him walk about. Her mind went to his, tried to touch him, found a wall there. Still she tried. "I love you. I want you to know that. I love you." After a few exhaustive attempts, she rolled over, punched the pillow, and fell asleep.

* * *

Spock felt his wife's mind groping for him. He could feel her heart and soul wanting to ease his mind and heart. He didn't want to let her in, but he could not turn her away so easily. She was part of him as Jim was. Spock chastised himself. "Jim is a part of my life. He is not dead. He is simply not here as my companion and friend now." The chessboard sat in precisely the same position it had been when they had left. Spock would not move the pieces. He would not clear the board. The game would be finished, somehow.

There was someone who was here, who needed him and who he needed more than he ever would have imagined. Seeing the only logical solution, Spock removed the robe and placed it gently back into the storage area under the meditation bench. Blowing out each of the ceremonial candles, he leaned over the soothing embers of the flame pot and breathed in the aroma. It cleared his head and made him even more resolute.

* * *

The bedroom was dark; the light from the moon had gone to the other side of the house an hour before. The fireplace created the only ambient light, but Spock knew the room by rote. He made his way stealthily into the room, stood watching the woman who shared his bed. She slept uneasily. Her right hand was flung across the side where he normally occupied and twitched in the dark. Her left hand clutched the blanket uneasily, the gleam from the ring that he had placed on her ring finger catching his eye. Bending down to trace it with a light finger, he disturbed her enough to wake her. Sleepy eyes met his. "Spock?"

"Shh," he said. Falling to his knees beside her, he took the hand in his. Without another word, he caressed it, held it to his face that had tears rolling down the cheeks, and kissed each fingertip lightly.

In the firelight, Christine watched him, almost stunned to see him out of the study. She could hear his breathing, it was ragged, as if he'd been running or was out of breath. It was calming though. As she watched, his face turned to her, she could not see his eyes, but she knew where they were. Words were not needed. With a simple sigh in his mind, he opened the door that would let her in again to his thoughts. The pain was so strong from him that she whimpered, "Spock."

With a shake of his head, he shushed her again. He did not want words between them. What he wanted to convey could only be done with pure thought and feelings. She tossed the covers back away from her, ushered him into their bed. He took the place beside her, allowed her to fold herself around him. She held him as if he were the only possession that she had that mattered. He was. Her kiss on the ear sent a pleasant shiver through him. It was sensual. He could feel himself wanting her, needing her worse than he had ever felt before. With a soft smile, she traced the tip of his ear with her fingernail, delighted when he took the finger and kissed it. If he wanted to love her, she would not deny him ever. Spock whispered to her, "Parted from me."

"And never parted," Christine whispered back. His mouth covered hers and created a swirl of sensations in her head. The grief mingled with the joy of having him with her. For a time, Spock forgot his pain, languished in the joys of his wife's arms. His warm breath kept her bare skin from becoming too chill as he ministered to her, loved her. His climax was one of the more surreal experiences he'd ever had. At once he was riding high on a tide of pure ecstasy, and at the same time, the pain was beating just beyond that thin veneer. In both pain and pleasure he cried out, clutched at Christine for dear sanity, allowed the tears to flow and purify the soul that was so tortured. His friend and brother was gone, but his wife and self was here. He had to continue. He slept soundly in her arms, comforted that her human heart kept him grounded in what was true and real.



THE END

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